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Police Reform

Coverage of civil action, news events and policy change pertaining to policing in Chicago, Illinois and the U.S.

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Finance Committee rejects settlement tied to allegations of police wrongdoing

Lenora Bonds’ son Terrence Harris was shot to death by three CPD officers in 2013 after Bonds called 911 to report her son was threatening her with two knives. A sergeant — who had received crisis intervention training — arrived, and was stabbed in the face, a lawyer for the city said.

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Cop who bungled homicide case involving Daley’s nephew promoted to lieutenant

Sam Cirone was reprimanded for his role in the investigation which initially cleared then-Mayor Richard M. Daley’s nephew in David Koschman’s 2004 death. A Sun-Times investigation changed that.

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Lightfoot appoints police reform advocate to lead new civilian oversight board

Adam Gross comes with decades of experience in advocating for structural reforms and most recently served as the director of the Police Accountability Program of Business and Professional People for the Public Interest.

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Lightfoot closes the book on a tumultuous 2021

Nearly two years into the pandemic, coronavirus cases are surging again and the city has announced another round of mitigations. You can’t blame the mayor for thinking twice about running again after Chicago’s tumultuous 2021.

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Don’t stop the work of uncovering police torture

We need to know if innocent men remain in prison. The Illinois Torture Inquiry and Relief Commission has hundreds more cases to investigate. Its work is under threat from a lawsuit.

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Follow the facts on Rahm Emanuel’s role in Laquan McDonald case

Former Chicago Inspector General Joe Ferguson said in a letter to Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chair Sen. Bob Menendez that Emanuel did not orchestrate a cover-up of the shooting.

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Chicago takes a much-needed step to overhaul police gang database

The City Council has voted to give people the right to challenge their name being listed in the error-ridden gang database. That’s just the first step, and it’s overdue.

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Facing firing, Chicago’s controversial police union boss formally retires from CPD

FOP President John Catanzara was accused of a string of departmental rule violations, including making a series of obscene and inflammatory social media posts.

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Chicago Police face stricter reporting rules under settlement of decade-long dispute over inequitable deployment of officers

"This racial disparity in police responses to calls for service was tolerated for too many years due solely to politics," ACLU Executive Director Colleen K. Connell said in a statement.

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Proposed $2 million settlement tied to yet another police chase turned deadly

The settlement is the largest of several tied to allegations of police wrongdoing on Monday’s Finance Committee agenda. It goes to David Brown, whose wife was fatally struck by a car whose driver was fleeing police.

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Deputy IG for public safety resigns to pursue top watchdog job

Under former Inspector General Joe Ferguson and deputy IG for public safety Deborah Witzburg, the public safety section has produced high-profile audits and reports sharply critical of the police department and Lightfoot.

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Jury awards more than $25 million to man wrongfully convicted in 1994 South Side double murder

Eddie Bolden spent more than two decades behind bars for the killings. Officials say the city is "assessing its legal options" after the massive payout was ordered.

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Police use of force against kids an afterthought in reform efforts

An AP investigation has found that children as young as 6 have been treated harshly — even brutally — by officers of the law. Chicago police as well as departments nationwide have few safeguards to prevent such incidents.

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Internal investigation of botched police raid stymied by mayor’s launch of parallel probe, former inspector general says

Ferguson said his investigators interviewed "almost three dozen people" and reviewed "tens of thousands of pages of emails and other government records." But with so much information kept from him, he said, he couldn’t recommend any disciplinary action.

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Reform watchdog ‘encouraged’ by Chicago police efforts, but Illinois attorney general blasts ‘lagging pace’

The Chicago Police Department blew half its deadlines to reform policies on use of force, discipline, training and recruiting. But police Supt. David Brown says Chicago is farther ahead than any other city that’s been under such a court order.

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City Council members accuse top cop of presiding over ‘most dangerous city in the country’

With Chicago Police Supt. David Brown on the hot seat at City Council budget hearings, council members complained about the rise in homicides, shootings and carjackings from last year’s already troubling levels.

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Police Board president bemoans great divide between residents, police in Chicago

Last summer, Ghian Foreman filed a complaint, saying he was struck in the legs five times by a police baton after encountering a demonstration in Kenwood. On Monday, Foreman wasn’t complaining about police. He was sympathizing with them.

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This is no time for the mayor to take a poke at moonlighting cops

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As CPS board OKs new $11M police contract, community groups praise district’s progress on school cops

The unified message ahead of the vote is a stark departure from this time last year, when students and police-free school advocates marched through the city and protested outside the downtown Chicago Public Schools headquarters.

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City Council approves eight-year police contract with 20% pay raise

Ald. Byron Sigcho-Lopez was one of eight aldermen voting "no." He said the contract does "little to nothing to ensure that there is accountability when false statements are made" by officers accused of misconduct.

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City poised for $20.5M settlement with 2 men allegedly framed by former Detective Reynaldo Guevara

The money goes to Armando Serrano and Jose Montanez, who were released from prison in 2016 after serving 23 years for the murder of Rodrigo Vargas. A parade of additional settlements in cases tied to Guevara is expected to follow.

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Chicago Police Department says it’s ‘doubling down’ on reforming how officers use force

But the department, in a court-ordered report issued Wednesday, won’t say how it has performed in meeting the latest deadlines set in a federal consent decree that requires reforms to use of force, discipline, supervision, training and recruiting. Last year, the department missed many such deadlines.

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CPD misses deadline for reforming foot chase policy; says more data needed

A Latino group that’s pushed for reforms since 13-year-old Adam Toledo was killed during a police chase called the request for more time "vague" and "a mystery."

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Police academy to churn out conveyor belt of classes to fill 877 sworn police vacancies

By July 31, 640 Chicago Police officers already had put in their retirement papers this year. Budget Director Susie Park told aldermen on Monday she expects that attrition rate to rise to 725 officers by year’s end.

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CPD agrees to pull cops from schools that voted to remove them

Police had initially resisted moves to remove one cop from each of two dozen schools that had chosen to have only one in their buildings.

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If ShotSpotter is a good crime-fighting tool, the police must provide proof

Without more complete reporting by the Chicago Police Department, it’s hard to judge whether responding to ShotSpotter alerts is the best use of police time.

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CPS board member says it’s ‘offensive’ that CPD won’t honor schools’ request to remove officers

The move by Chicago police to assign two cops to schools that voted only to keep one appeared to come against the wishes of Chicago Public Schools officials.

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City’s watchdog finds ShotSpotter rarely leads to evidence of gun crimes, investigatory stops

The MacArthur Justice Center said the report "reaffirms the truth" that ShotSpotter is "wholly unreliable and fundamentally dangerous to the communities of color on Chicago’s South and West sides where it is employed."

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Some cops to stay in schools that voted them out until CPS finalizes contract with police department

CPS chief of safety and security Jadine Chou said Monday CPD is considering keeping its officers in some schools while negotiations over a new contract continue — though she vowed to ensure schools’ votes are honored.

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Father of wounded officer slams mayor on police reform

"She’s tied the hands of the police. She wants ’em to police with one hand behind their back," said Carlos Yanez Sr., a former Chicago police officer, whose son continues to recover from the West Englewood shooting in which his partner, Officer Ella French, was killed.

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Ethics, integrity top of mind for residents as COPA launches search for next police oversight leader

Only about a handful of residents turned out Tuesday for the first public forum as the Civilian Office of Police Accountability searches for its next leader.

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Family of man shot and killed by Kyle Rittenhouse sues law enforcement officials

"After he had killed and maimed multiple individuals, Kyle Rittenhouse walked up to a dozen Kenosha police officers, assault rifle in hand, with crowds yelling that he had just killed innocent people. What did the police do? They spoke to him and let him walk away," said a lawyer for Anthony Huber’s family.